Gosh I could not wait. Tomorrow was finally the day where all the fun would begin. Bzzz…..Bzzz…..Bzzz. I slapped my phone/alarm clock repeatedly as if I was killing a fly. High school, I thought to myself. So today is finally the day, huh. Yesterday still feels like 8th grade. As I slowly removed my sleepy self out of my bed, I reached for my clothes that were prepared on my desk from the day before. I scrubbed my teeth with my toothbrush and drowned my face with water, trying to desperately wake myself up. As I head downstairs, almost tumbling due to my half awake presence, I got ready to leave. I was nervous since it was my first day but I was relieved that I had my older sister with me.
The first day of high school finally hits me and then I’m just like shit… Wait, what was I thinking? I was scared, I didn’t know anyone besides my older sister. I wasn’t able to start a conversation at first. I wasn’t social like my sister. I thought, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I talk to people? There must be something wrong with me because I remembered 7th grade I wasn’t like this.
In 7th grade, I was a different person. It was a new year for me. My mom pressured me because she believed that it is the most important year in school. She would say, “high schools mainly looks at your grades in 7th grade so make sure to stay on top of that”. Also, I was placed in class with people I did not know from my previous years; it felt different. Excitement filled up inside me of the thought of making new friends. I managed to succeed in hanging out with all types of people in my class and was liked by them. As Jada my best friend in 7th grade would say, “I’m glad to have a good, smart, funny friend as you”. I mainly hung out with Jada throughout the school year. I was only placed with one Asian in the same class with me compared to the other class of 7th grade that were filled with bunch of Asians that I knew from previous years. I learned to adapt to the changes. I became more independent because I had to do work on my own. Then 8th grade came and left me speechless.
When 8th grade came, it felt like I was placed with all of the Asians of my grade. I didn’t know if it was just coincidence or if race was involved in how the classes were organized, I just knew I was placed with most of them. I was filled with joy that I had my normal friends back. My squad in 8th grade was called “The Asian Squad” by the other students. This was because every morning, mainly all the Asians would meet up at a specific spot at a black fence.
The people I hung out with in the morning included people that were not in my class but were Asian. I started to grow on them. Only 4 of them were in the same class as me but it still caused me to be dependent on them which brought the side of me I never knew I had, my shyness. Being dependent on my friends meant asking them for help when I did not want to speak as much as them. My fear of someone creeping up to me to talk with me, increased. To this day, I disliked talking to people I don’t know due to this deep fear inside me.
Back in history class in 8th grade, when we would all be done our work, my Asians friends and I would play a game. It was a game that involved kiss, marry or kill with kpop stars. The names of kpop celebrities would be put on folded papers and each of us would chose 3 folded papers. Then we would chose which celebrity we would rather kiss, marry or kill. My friends were madly in love with kpop and since as I was already a bit interested, I decided to learn the names groups and found it oddly enjoyable. One day, we were doing our normal thing in history class but this time, the atmosphere was different. The history teacher came up to us to start a conversation with us. The sound of the room went pitch quiet as you could hear the teacher glaring at us. He asked us, “Why did you girls get so quiet when I walked in?” As usual, we looked at each other and almost cracked up and then looked at the teacher.
That year, I realized that I started to shut people out from the 7th grade, even my best friend. People from 7th grade that I was super close with would come up to me and say hi. But I would just ignore them and hang out with people I was placed with, my Asians classmates. I didn’t know if my mindset was that if I hung out with them and just them I would be fine. I just hung with one specific type of people and didn’t really understand why I did that, what was I testing. I noticed that I started to become dependent on my Asians friends.
Now I'm in my junior year at Science Leadership Academy. I’m not as shy as I used to be. I feel like SLA really helped me with my shyness because SLA is a very different schools compared to other schools. This is because SLA focuses on projects instead of test and have a core values. SLA’s core values are: inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection. SLA has helped me become who I am today through the projects and core values. Since SLA focuses on projects, I have to work with others and present with them. The abundant amount of presenting in each class has guided me to be less shy. If I went to a different school, I would not be who I am today and I would not be able to revert back to when I was in 7th grade. I feel like during 8th grade, I was holding back on who I could become and thought that if I hung out with my Asians friends and just them I would be fine. This is like Bartle from “The Yellow Birds”, when he made a friend. The death of Murphy, who actually became Bartle’s best friend, hurt Bartle. He coped by getting drunk and hallucinating. Although I did not lose someone like Bartle, I lost the people who caused me to discover a new trait that I never knew that I had. As I attend SLA, I feel like I'm reverting back to my usual self due to the core values that still shape me today.